A date has been set for the Public Inquiry into the Thornton to Switch Island Link road.   The hearing, at Bootle Town Hall, is scheduled for Tuesday, February 5, 2013, and is expected to last one or two days.   An Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport will hear objections to the legal orders which have been made to progress the proposed £19m bypass.

There are two objections to the Compulsory Purchase Order which is needed to formally acquire the land and associated rights for the new road.   As one of these is classed as a ‘statutory objection,’ a Public Inquiry has been called by the Department for Transport.

Formal notice of the Inquiry will be advertised in January and the council’s evidence will be available for inspection from January 15. The paperwork will include detailed, technical responses to the objections raised.   Once all the representations have been heard, the Inspector will produce a report for the Secretary of State and a decision notice will be published at a later date. The timescale for this process is dependent on the Department for Transport.

Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Transportation, said: “The Public Inquiry is something we always knew might happen and was always timed in to the link road project plan.

“Although a new road of some form has been on the agenda for many years, this phase of the legal process could only start once an agreed, and fully-funded, road scheme was in place. This formal legal process has now led to the forthcoming Inquiry.   “Our legal team has been making the necessary preparations over recent months and the council remains fully committed to this much-needed transport scheme.”

For more information and regular updates, visit www.sefton.gov.uk/thorntonlink or follow @seftoncouncil on twitter.

Background Information

The new link road is intended to relieve congestion and reduce traffic through the communities of Netherton and Thornton. It will also benefit the wider Sefton economy by improving access to the motorway network – particularly from Crosby, Formby and Southport.

Earlier this year Sefton Council announced that the proposed road would be called the A5758 Broom’s Cross Road.   Broom’s Cross is the site of a medieval wayside cross near Thornton. Although only the base stone of the original cross still exists, it remains a Scheduled Monument and is the most important historic site in the vicinity of the new link road. The site will not be affected by the construction project.

The Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), published in July 2012, would give the council the necessary legal powers to acquire the land and any associated legal rights needed for the road.   No homes need to be demolished to build the bypass and the council already owns much of the land along the proposed route.   Construction can only begin once the necessary legal process and land acquisition have been completed.   Civil engineering contractors Balfour Beatty and their designers Jacobs have almost completed the detailed design of the road.   Once underway, construction of the road is expected to last approximately 12 months.

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